AFL: Melbourne Demons to hunt for missing ‘distinctive badge’ after Bulldogs defeat: Simon Goodwin

Melbourne will be looking to rediscover their defensive calling card over the next six days ahead of a potentially season-defining trip west to face Fremantle on Friday night.

The Demons lost 100-plus points for the first time in three years in Saturday’s 10-point loss to the Western Bulldogs in a wildly entertaining shootout at Marvel Stadium.

Simon Goodwin’s side have lost five of their last eight games, losing the aura of invincibility they once boasted despite a game-high 27 points at the end of their second term.

But what Goodwin was most worried about was the Bulldogs’ ability to run rampantly attack the prime minister’s incumbent defense, which All-Australian Jake Lever (shoulder) lacked.

“This is a missed opportunity on our part,” Goodwin said.

“(But) these are just typical games against the Western Bulldogs – they rock by inertia, and we’ve had that before. Probably, for us, 110 points against the usual Melbourne is not an ordinary match.

The Bulldogs have certainly made the game more like their type of game and that’s what allowed them to get back in the game… so we’ll go and look at that.”

Melbourne may find themselves outside the top four in the next round if they don’t avenge their 11th round loss to the Dockers at the MCG, who have begun to rot after a 17-game win streak.

“When you lose intense games this time of year, it hurts,” Goodwin said.

“Our job as a football club now is to react quickly and that response should come next week against Fremantle…but like I said, 110 against is not exactly how we want to play.

(Then there was) that third quarter where they dominated the half-time – those are two things we will go and look at.”

Goodwin expects Lever to be available to face Fremantle, but was less confident in team leader Ben Brown, who continues to treat a knee injury that will affect him for the rest of his career.

“We’ll just keep an eye on it this week, but hopefully we’ll get him out of there,” he said of Brown.

“He went for a light jog (Saturday) and we’ll see how he pulls up in the next few days.”

James Jordon (knee) played out Saturday’s game but will be followed throughout the week.

Originally published as AFL: Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin mourns the Demons who lost 110 points in disappointing loss to Western Bulldogs